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Sometimes, deciding what files to back up and where to park backup copies makes the process overwhelming. And periodically you'll want to save everything on your computer, with minimum thinking required to set the process in motion. PC World contributing editor Lincoln Spector discusses various backup strategies in his article "7 Backup Strategies for Your Data, Multimedia, and System Files."
In addition, we have tested a number of devices that are designed to make jump-starting your system backups dead simple. Notable among these are Storage Appliance's Clickfree Portable Backup drives (available in 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch external varieties, and as a credit-card-size flash drive), and models from CMS Products, Hewlett-Packard, Rebit, and Seagate.
Some backup devices focus on automatic software startup and one-click data-file backup (including media and document files stored in designated folders). Others provide greater flexibility--in one case including system-level backup--but require active participation by the user. And still others fall somewhere in between. In all cases, you'll pay a premium for products that offer tighter integration between software and hardware.
Click the product names below for complete reviews of each backup drive:
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